Why Does My Hot Tub Go Cloudy?

Of all the questions we get regarding hot tubs, one of the most common is, “Why does my hot tub go cloudy?” Because there are so many different reasons why this could be happening, it’s a completely valid question. To allow hot tub owners to pinpoint the source of their own cloudy water woes, we’ve come up with a list of reasons as to why your hot tub water has gone cloudy. Check over these reasons and see if you can figure out where things have gone wrong for you.

The Water Chemistry Is Imbalanced

Making sure your water chemistry is properly balanced should be one of the first things you look at when trying to figure out why your hot tub water is cloudy. As a matter of fact, it’s something that should be done on a daily basis if you use your hot tub all the time. There are a handful of simple tests that will let you know if you need to add chemicals to get your water back in balance. If the readings of your total alkalinity or calcium hardness are too high, the cloudiness is likely being caused by carbonates reverting to their solid-state in the water. Similarly, pH levels that aren’t balanced may affect the ability of sanitizers to keep the water free of cloud-causing organics.

You Aren’t Using Enough Sanitizer

Some hot tub users feel that high levels of sanitizers irritate their skin, throat, and nose. But if your sanitizer levels are too low, you’ll end up with an excess of organic contaminants that cause your water to become cloudy. If you want a quick fix to low sanitizer levels, you can shock the water with a chlorine-based treatment. You should also use this method if a lot of people have used your hot tub in a short period of time.

Bathers Aren’t Showering Beforehand

Most of the dirt, oils and other contaminants that end up in your hot tub water are brought there by the bathers. Skin oils, soap residues, suntan lotion, hair products, and cosmetics all contribute to the conditions that allow for cloudy hot tub water. To prevent this, you should insist that bathers take a shower before entering the hot tub. This will create a cleaner and more comfortable bathing scenario for everyone involved.

Your Water Filters Need to Be Cleaned or Replaced

Water filters work hard to remove particulate matter from the water. But they need to be properly fitted, cleaned and replaced on a regular basis to be able to function properly. You can easily clean your filters with a garden hose or, if they’re overly soiled, with some specialized cleaning fluid. Check to make sure they don’t have any tears or holes and you install them correctly after cleaning. Water filters won’t last forever and should be replaced every year or two.

Your Water Pump Isn’t Running Properly

To be able to filter and clean the water properly, your water pump should be run at top speed for a minimum of two hours every day. Running it at a lower speed or for smaller amounts of time will not circulate the water enough to remove excess debris. You should also make sure it’s free from any materials that can clog it such as hair, sand or pieces of plastic. If there are any air leaks or the fittings aren’t properly tightened, the excess air can make the water appear cloudy even if it’s not actually dirty. 

Your Source Water Is Cloudy

Some local water sources are already cloudy. If that’s the case it only makes sense that your hot tub water will be cloudy as well. Usually, this will clear itself up after a few days as long as your water chemistry is properly balanced. To prevent this from happening in the first place you can get a filter attachment for your garden hose that will remove any suspended particles as you fill your tub.

To learn more about hot tub maintenance, download a hot tub buyer’s guide.